Popes in a Year
#81 - Pope St. Benedict II
Pope from June 26, 684 - May 8, 685
Died: May 8, 685
Given name: Benedictus Sabellus
Give me the scoop on Benedict II.
Benedict II, a Roman by birth, was educated from a young age and served the Church for most of his life. His defining qualities as a young man included a vast knowledge of Scripture and a great singing voice, and his contemporaries loved him as both priest and pope for his generosity, commitment to the poor, and his humble nature. Though little is known now about Benedict II’s life, these qualities alone led to him being venerated as a saint. Pretty impressive. Benedict II, like Leo II before him, reigned for less than a year and died on May 8, 685 at the age of 50.
What was he known for?
Pope St. Benedict II is known for securing a big win for the Church in the form of abolishing the need for emperors to confirm papal elections. See, Benedict was chosen to succeed Leo II in 683, but wasn’t able to take office until mid-684, thanks to a rule that required approval from the emperor before consecration could take place. Once in office, Benedict was probably thinking, “Popes don’t have time for this,” and was thus motivated to work out a deal with the East, substantially cutting the time it took between election and consecration for future popes.
Benedict II was the third pope in a row who’s now recognized as a saint. And yet, only 1 out of the next seven pontiffs carries the halo.
What else was going on in the world at the time?
In 684, Halley’s Comet (yes, that Halley’s Comet) was observed in Japan. It’s currently Japan’s oldest recorded observation of that particular comet.
Coming tomorrow....Pope John V
SOURCES (and further reading)
John, E. (1964). The Popes: A concise biographical history. New York: Hawthorn Books.
Pope St. Benedict II -
Pope Benedict II -
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Sent by Matthew Sewell on Monday, April 24 at 2:00AM